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The Life and Times of a Phenomenal Woman Maya Angelou is one of the greatest poets of all time Angelous work reflects her life and times but no matter the obstacles that she had to overcome they only made her stronger As a Black woman growing up in a predominantly White neighborhood receiving recognition was not always easy However through hard work and perseverance she has surpassed all the other poets of the Modern Era Marguerite Johnson came into this world on April 4 1928 in Saint Louis Missouri Johnson adopted the name Maya Angelou while dancing on stage at the Purple Onion cabaret in her early twenties Maya 1 As a child Angelou suffered from great pain agony and despair At age seven Angelous mothers boyfriend raped her leaving her pregnant- changing her life forever Angelou never had a stable home environment She moved to her grandmothers house in search of a place to relax and take solace from society Angelou then realized that this place was no more stable than the ones before So she found a place in a car graveyard where she could live with other homeless children Maya 1 Now with no role model and a constant change in environment it became extremely hard for Angelou to mature Maya 2However through her keen perception and probing insight into her own character she began to see the harsh reality of life and developed as a proud eloquent woman and poet Many past poetic masterminds influenced Angelou and helped inspire her to become a poet some being Langston Hughes Edgar Allen Poe William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens Personal 1 A woman named Elizabeth Flowers a native of Saint Louis also greatly influenced Angelou by encouraging her to read often and express herself freely After Angelous rape she became silent To counter this silence she turned to books and began writing poetry Many of her poems make sexual innuendos and express feelings she
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